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Afghan Report: July 17, 2003

17 July 2003, Volume 2, Number 25
By Tanya Goudsouzian

"I will be your bodyguard!" yelps a young boy wearing an oversized gray "shalwar kameez." Shayr Mohammad squirms his body through the throng of street urchins, who regularly loiter around the marketplace on Chicken Street in Kabul. He grabs my shopping bags and leads the way.

"I will protect you," he explains, and in the same breath orders the rest of the kids to scram. The little beggar boys heed his command; the little beggar girls smile coyly at him.

Scarcely eight years old, Mohammad has learned rudimentary English on the streets. "Bodyguard" and "protection" were among the first words he picked up from the foreigners who scour the popular marketplace in Kabul. Now, he keeps an eye out for vulnerable foreign journalists or NGO workers, and offers them his assistance during their shopping excursions. He rakes in a couple of hundred afghanis ($4) a day in tips.

Many Kabul residents are waiting with bated breath for the next terror attack. In recent weeks, the country has witnessed an alarming spate of surprise assaults aimed at Western targets, most notably the incident involving a German military convoy (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 12 June 2003).

Still, Lieutenant General Sebghatullah, General Director of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Interior Ministry, insists Kabul is "under control." He claims that informants had forewarned the department that an incident would take place targeting the foreign military presence, and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) had been notified. "We just didn't know how and when the attack would be carried out," he said. "Security in Kabul is under control," he maintained, "but crime rates are generally higher here than in the provinces, partly due to the large population. We have a lot of cases of theft and looting."

In the southern provinces, however, he said the rate of crimes, such as theft or rape, is much lower -- "even nonexistent" -- whereas security is not good due to violent clashes among rival tribes.

General Sebghatullah, 39, served as chief of police in Badakhshan Province in northern Afghanistan for six years prior to his appointment as general director of the Criminal Investigation Department at the ministry in Kabul. He also fought in the resistance against the Soviets and badly injured his left hand in a land mine accident. "When I step out into the city, I am one of the few officials who don't need bodyguards or heavy arms," he said proudly. He carries a small semi-automatic pistol -- just in case.

According to Omar Samad, spokesman for the Afghan Foreign Ministry, the situation in Kabul has improved over the past two years, "despite isolated cases of terrorism aimed at the international forces or Afghan government." "The Afghan population over all feels safer compared to two years ago under the oppressive Taliban regime in most of the country," he said. "Security by fear or intimidation was imposed by force on the people, denying them basic human rights. Now, we see the return of a normal situation, where common crime takes place, and individual incidents are highlighted by the media and those NGOs who strive on negativity. What Afghanistan needs is positive feedback, constructive criticism and real assistance to rebuild its security institutions. We don't need pundits with large budgets and an agenda who have nothing positive to say and who needlessly poison global public opinion," he said.

Crime Figures

General Sebghatullah said the department compiles weekly reports on the incidence of crime in all provinces. During the first 10 days of June, a total of 10 murders were reported to have taken place in Afghanistan. There were also 27 cases of theft, six cases of armed robbery, three cases of adultery, and two cases of narcotics smuggling. In the following 10 days, there were 11 murders, 33 cases of theft, one armed robbery, one case of adultery, and two cases of narcotics smuggling. "Rape is very rare in this country," he said. "Usually, the relations are consensual and the couples are charged with adultery."

In Kabul alone, during the first 10 days of June, there were two murders, 11 cases of theft, and one armed robbery. During the following 10 days, there were three murders, 11 cases of theft, one armed robbery, and two kidnappings. Kidnappings are not uncommon in the country, and perpetrators mostly target wealthy businessmen, or the offspring of influential personalities. "One of the cases was the son of an army general," General Sebghatullah said. "The general paid the ransom money to the kidnappers, and they told him his son had been taken to Mazar-e Sharif. The father went to Mazar, but could not find his son. We managed to track down the kidnappers and they are in custody, but the boy has not been found yet."

Insofar as the Afghan authorities' war against the lucrative narcotics industry, nearly 300 Afghans were arrested on charges of trafficking narcotics after the Taliban were driven out of power, he said (for more, see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 20 February, 29 May, and 5 June 2003). "We don't yet have a punishment for narcotics dealers, so they are detained at Kabul police station for 24 hours, and then they are taken to a block at the Pol-e Charkhi prison. We usually burn the stash," he said.

The Pol-e Charkhi prison, a dreaded establishment on the outskirts of Kabul, is currently undergoing maintenance work. It was built under President Mohammad Da'ud, who staged a coup d'etat in 1973 and overthrew King Mohammad Zaher. When the communists took over in 1978, members of the royal family, sympathizers, and suspected spies were taken there. Many were never heard from again. Today, the prison is a grisly sight. The dank alleys stink of urine and the walls are pockmarked by bullets. One block remains operational in the midst of the maintenance work.

While the crime rates are generally much lower outside Kabul, Sebghatullah said security conditions are "worst in the provinces, and some provinces are worse than others." Oruzgan in the south, for example, is highly volatile, followed by Nimroz, he pointed out. In the north, Faryab province has proven especially difficult. Two months ago, Sebghatullah traveled to Faryab to personally assess the situation. He decided to beef up the police force. "The police were not able to keep the law and order in the area, so I had to send in reinforcement," he said. Similarly, he also sent a reinforcement team to Mazar-e-Sharif a month ago.

Mohammed Omar Babrakzai, the deputy minister of frontier and tribal affairs, concurs that inter-tribal hostilities render some areas problematic, but he believes that the law is far more respected in these tribal areas than in the urban centers. "The Pashtun tribesmen have a long tradition of resolving their conflicts through unwritten codes of conduct," he explained. "Most people living in the remote provinces may be illiterate, but they respect their laws. You will rarely hear of robberies, rapes, or looting in their parts." Babrakzai, who hails from the Zadran tribe in Paktia, is a jurist by profession and a recognized expert in Afghan tribal justice systems. "In the tribal areas, there exists three types of tribunals: tribal law tribunal, governmental law tribunal, and Islamic law tribunal," he explained. "People can choose which tribunal they want, and about 95 percent of tribesmen involved in a dispute tend towards the tribal law tribunal. This is because they can understand the language of the tribal law tribunal. It is familiar to them. Whereas, the governmental tribunal uses a lot of legal jargon, and the Islamic law tribunal tends to use a lot of Arabic terms."

According to Babrakzai, due to their familiarity with tribal customs and laws, tribesmen are not prone to committing crimes, such as murder, theft, and rape. They know the penalty, he said. As for the lack of security in these areas, he said the ministry is currently working on a systematic plan to unify the tribes -- some of which are subdivided into various political factions or torn apart by vendettas. The ultimate goal is to encourage these tribes to cooperate with the central government in matters of national security (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 26 June 2003).

Tanya Goudsouzian is a journalist who covers Afghanistan.

Haji Ibrar, a security official from Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar Province, said two of his men were injured in "fresh fighting" that erupted on 12 July between Afghan border guards and the Pakistani military along the Afghan-Pakistani border, the Pakistani English-language daily "Dawn" reported the next day. "There was light-weapons fire on both sides," Ibrar said. Sporadic armed clashes have been occurring along the Afghan-Pakistani border in the Mohmand tribal areas since the beginning of July. Afghan officials have accused Pakistani militias of violating Afghan territory, while Pakistan has denied those charges and claimed that its antiterrorism operations are being conducted on its side of the border. The Afghan-Pakistani border has never officially been recognized by Afghanistan, and sections of it -- including those where fighting has recently taken place -- are not properly demarcated (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 11 July 2003). (Amin Tarzi)

General Mohammad Mostafa, in describing the 12 July fighting, said the next day that his forces drove the Pakistanis from the village of Yaqubi Kandaw and captured border posts they had set up inside Afghanistan, AP reported. "All kinds of weapons were used. Neither side hesitated to use whatever weapons [it] wanted,'' Mostafa said. Afghan commander Haji Abdul Zaher Qader on 12 July said both sides used artillery, RFE/RL reported. Pakistan's Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that "there is no truth" to Mostafa's allegations, AP reported. Ahmed said his government's forces remain within Pakistan's territory and that the country respects its border with Afghanistan. (Amin Tarzi)

Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali, quoting a report by a senior government delegation sent to investigate reports that Pakistani militias have entered Afghan territory (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 11 July 2003), said on 9 July that Pakistani "militias" moved 200 meters across the Pakistani-Afghan border near Lalpur in Nangarhar Province, Radio Afghanistan reported. Jalali also mentioned Goshta as another area where Pakistani militias entered Afghan territory in the past week. He said the Afghan Transitional Administration is awaiting a report from a second delegation sent to the area before it makes its position "clear and firm." Jalali confirmed reports that two Afghans were injured in the area of Yaqubi Kandaw in Mohmand tribal regions (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 July 2003). However, he added that the situation along the border with Pakistan is not bad enough to declare a state of emergency. The village of Lalpur is situated about 8 kilometers from the Pakistani border and about 60 kilometers southeast of Jalalabad. Goshta is situated 30 kilometers from the Pakistani border and 30 kilometers east of Jalalabad. It is unclear from the reports whether the Pakistani militias actually entered these villages or were operating in their vicinity. (Amin Tarzi)

Afghan Transitional Administration spokesman Ahmad Jawayd Lodin said on 14 July that reports by delegations sent to Nangarhar Province have confirmed the reported incursions into Afghanistan by Pakistani militia (see above), Afghanistan Television reported. Lodin said Pakistani militia have advanced 600 meters into the Goshta and Lalpur areas of Nangarhar Province. (Amin Tarzi)

Transitional Administration spokesman Lodin categorically rejected the reported assertions made by Pakistani Ambassador to Afghanistan Rostam Shah Mohmand that Pakistani forces advanced into the area following discussions between Islamabad and Kabul, Afghanistan Television reported on 14 July. Lodin said the Transitional Administration had no advance information of the incursions by Pakistan. The current border dispute between Afghanistan and Pakistan began following the joint U.S.-Afghan Operation Unified Resolve, which began in Nangarhar Province in late June (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 26 June 2003), while concurrent operations on the Pakistan side of the border were initiated by Islamabad. The goal of these operations was to stop Al-Qaeda members who were using the area as a staging ground for attacks on the U.S.-led antiterrorism coalition and Afghan forces. There is no information on whether the Afghan and Pakistani forces coordinated their operations. (Amin Tarzi)

Following two weeks of border clashes between Afghan and Pakistani forces (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 11 July 2003) Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah issued the pointed message to Islamabad on 14 July that border incursions "will not be tolerated" by Afghanistan, RFE/RL reported. Abdullah told reporters, diplomats, and scholars at RFE/RL headquarters in Washington that while Afghanistan is ready to move beyond the "suffering" its neighbors caused it in the past, "I can assure you that Afghans will not allow an inch of their soil [to be] under occupation by any means" and warned it would be "extremely negative" if other neighbors followed Pakistan's recent example and reverted to "old habits." Abdullah framed the alleged incursions within the context of the U.S.-led war on terrorism, suggesting that "if [the Taliban] is in a city in a foreign country, it should be dealt with." While Abdullah did not directly implicate Pakistan, Afghan officials have in past weeks made repeated reference to extremists thought to be sheltering there. (Isabelle Laughlin)

Pakistan's Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali denied on 15 July that his country's forces have entered Afghan territory, Reuters reported. "What would we gain by entering 600 meters?" he asked (see above). "We are not in an athletics race, are we? It doesn't make any sense." Jamali blamed a "third party" for trying to sour Pakistan's relations with Afghanistan, "Dawn" reported on 16 July, saying his government cannot not rule out Indian involvement in protesters' 8 July storming of the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 11 July 2003). (Amin Tarzi)

Sahibzada Mohammad Anis of the Mohmand Political Agency in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province said on 9 July that Afghan militia loyal to the Nangarhar Military Corps commander Hazrat-e Ali "launched an unprovoked attack" against a Pakistani border post in the Yaqubi region, Pakistan's daily "The News" reported on 10 July. Anis's claim could not be confirmed independently, however, local residents blamed the Afghan side for firing first, the report added. An Afghan commander in the area who wished to remain anonymous said that Pakistan has initiated the conflict in an effort to bring the area under its control (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 11 July 2003). (Amin Tarzi)

Anis said on 14 July that his forces "have neither encroached upon Afghan territory nor set up a border post beyond the Durand Line," the Pakistan daily "The News" reported. Responding to claims made on 13 July by Afghan commander General Mohammad Mostafa that his forces drove the Pakistanis from the Yaqubi Kandaw border post (see below), Anis said that Pakistani soldiers and militiamen are still manning the post, adding that Pakistan has established eight border posts, including one at Yaqubi Kandaw, on the border with Afghanistan. Pakistan sent its troops to the "hitherto inaccessible and unadministered parts of Mohmand Agency" in late June (see above) to extend the central government's rule there, "The News" reported. The "Durand Line" refers to Sir Henry Mortimer Durand, the British signatory of the 1893 agreement that demarcated the border between Afghanistan and British India. (Amin Tarzi)

A day after violent demonstrators on 8 July ransacked the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 11 July 2003), Afghan police blocked streets near the embassy and turned away protestors who again managed to get close to the compound, AP reported. The demonstrators reportedly said Pakistan is infringing on Afghanistan's sovereignty. Afghan authorities claimed the mob that attacked the embassy was composed primarily of students from a nursing school and that the director of the school has been arrested. Pakistan's Ambassador to Afghanistan Rostam Shah Mohmand said the fact that only one person has been arrested thus far is "totally unacceptable," AP reported. (Amin Tarzi)

About 300 people staged a rally in Mehtarlam, capital of Laghman Province, on 9 July, chanting anti-Pakistan slogans and demanding that Pakistani militias stop intruding on Afghan territory, the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) reported. Sayyed Malang, head of a tribal council in the area, said that "we condemn Pakistan's incursions" and that the protesters gathered to "express our anger." The 9 July demonstration was the first in Laghman since a rally was held there on 24 March to protest the war in Iraq. (Amin Tarzi)

Over 500 residents of Kandahar staged a peaceful rally on 10 July calling on Pakistan to withdraw its forces from Afghan territory, Hindukosh news agency reported. Haji Lal Mohammad, who is a tribal leader and former member of parliament, called on Pakistan to evacuate "Pashtunistan" -- meaning the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan that is largely inhabited by Pashtuns -- in a repeat of the policies followed by Afghanistan in the 1950s-80s. Afghan Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai's brother Abdul Wali Karzai also participated in the march. The current border between Afghanistan and Pakistan has never been officially recognized by Afghanistan, and has been at the heart of disagreements between the two countries since the creation of Pakistan in 1947. Those sections of the border where the current clashes are occurring have never been demarcated properly. (Amin Tarzi)

Representatives of the Mandozai, Gorbaz, and Mangal tribes living in southeastern parts of Afghanistan issued a statement on 9 July supporting statements Karzai made in his speech at the inauguration of the International Press Center in Kabul on 6 July and expressing support for Karzai's strong stance on the issue of Afghan sovereignty, Radio Afghanistan reported. In his speech, Karzai condemned Pakistani militias' incursions inside Afghan territory (for an analysis of Karzai's speech, see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 11 July 2003). (Amin Tarzi)

Afghan Transitional Administration spokesman Ahmad Jawayd Lodin said a tripartite commission comprising Afghan, Pakistani, and U.S. representatives has been established to investigate the Pakistani incursions into the Afghan territory, Afghanistan Television reported on 14 July. He said that the commission is expected to begin its work on 15 July. The tripartite commission met in Kabul on 15 July, Radio Afghanistan reported. A communique released after the meeting said the commission evaluated the activities of remnants of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border. In addition, "recent developments" were discussed, and it was decided that a subcommittee will be formed to "carry out ground verifications within a week to address each other's concerns and submit its findings [to the tripartite commission] as soon as possible." (Amin Tarzi)

U.S. presidential envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said following the meeting of the tripartite commission in Kabul on 15 July (see above) that Washington wants Afghanistan and Pakistan to cooperate, the Pakistan daily "Dawn" reported on 16 July. "On the part of Pakistan, every effort has to be made by the government of Pakistan not to allow its territory to be used by forces such as the Taliban," Khalilzad said. "There are some countries, forces -- I'm not going to name anyone -- who may seek to create a problem within Afghanistan, Pakistan, [to] take advantage of it," he added. "Afghans have to be very careful about that." Some believe that Iran might be indirectly encouraging some factions within the Afghan Transitional Administration to oppose closer Afghan-Pakistani relations, as Iran stands to lose in the event those two countries expand bilateral cooperation in economic and other spheres. (Amin Tarzi)

General Ata Mohammad, commander of Army Corps No. 7, said at an 8 July meeting at Mazar-e Sharif's Balkh University to discuss the draft of the future Afghan constitution that his side "wants a united Afghanistan" and for the time being "rejects having a federal government" in the country, Balkh TV reported. Ata Mohammad, who is the strongman of the Jamiat-e Islami party in northern Afghanistan, said that the issue of establishing a federal system could be brought up in a decade or so, when the country will have established a powerful central government and national army. He said now is not the time because the central government's control has not been established throughout the country and "optimum peace is not secured." Ata Mohammad emphasized that his side will only accept a democracy that is set up "according to rules of Islam, not against Islam." Afghanistan should not "mimic or copy some meaningless or nonsensical actions of some foreign countries," he said. "Our country is an Islamic country and only Islam can run the government in this country." Ata Mohammad's main rival, General Abdul Rashid Dostum, special adviser on security and military affairs to Chairman Karzai, favors a federal system for the country, which would presumably allow him to retain control of his northern fiefdom (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 16 January, 10, 24 April, and 3 July 2003). (Amin Tarzi)

At the Balkh University meeting, Nematullah Shahrani, the head of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), said the new Afghan constitution will have "Islamic agendas...that are not found in the constitutions of other Islamic countries," Balkh TV reported. He did not specify what Islamic rules will be used in education and in Afghan government offices. Shahrani added that the constitution has "proclamations of emancipation, but there are some rules too." He did not elaborate on those rules, however. Pointing to articles critical of Islam which were published in June in "Aftab" (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 26 June 2003), he said that what was published was not journalism, "not democracy, [and] it was not fair." Shahrani said that the Afghan calendar will be changed to the lunar system from the solar system currently in use (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 July 2003 and "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 16 January and 10 and 24 April 2003). (Amin Tarzi)

A number of tribal and political leaders from Kandahar Province demanded on 15 July that Shahrani resign because of remarks he has made about the content of the future Afghan constitution, AP reported. Wakil Lal Mohammad, a member of the 2002 Loya Jirga, said on 15 July that "it is for the people to decide what kind of constitution they want." During an 8 July visit to northern parts of Afghanistan, Shahrani said the country will be an Islamic democracy and provided other details of the constitution (see above). "How can [Shahrani] impose his opinion" when "the new constitution is yet to be made?" Lal Mohammad asked. "It seems as if [the CRC members] themselves are making the constitution. They are only fulfilling a formality and just spending time with the people" (Amin Tarzi)

Transitional Administration Chairman Karzai issued a decree on 15 July that established the procedure for choosing delegates for the Constitutional Loya Jirga (CLJ), which is scheduled for October, AFP reported, citing Bakhtar news agency. According to the decree, the CLJ will comprise 500 members, of whom 450 are to be elected by representatives of the Afghan population and the remaining 50 nominated by Karzai. Approximately 15,000 district representatives will chose 344 delegates; representatives of Afghan women will choose 64 female delegates; and 42 delegates, of which at least six must be women, will be chosen to represent the Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan, nomads, internally displaced Afghans, and members of the Hindu and Sikh minorities. The election process, under the supervision of the CRC, will begin in August with representatives of districts in Afghanistan's major population centers choosing delegates by simple majority. Analysts have cautioned that, given the fact that Kabul's authority does not extend to many parts of Afghanistan, ensuring fair elections might be difficult (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 23 May and 19 June 2003).

Complete text of Karzai's decrees:

Article 1: Procedure of the Loya Jirga.

Taking into account the history and the worthy national traditions of the Afghan people and in accordance with the Bonn Agreement, the Loya Jirga of the people of Afghanistan is to be held in Kabul in accordance with the following composition and procedure to approve the constitution the draft of which has been prepared by the Constitution Commission.

Article 2: Structure and number of members.

1. The Loya Jirga to approve the constitution should have 500 members. Of these 450 are elected members and 50 will be selected.

2. The 450 elected members will be elected in the following way:

a. The 15,000 district representatives who had been elected from their relevant districts for the Emergency Loya Jirga in Jawza 1381 [May-June 2002] will elect 344 members [for constitutional Loya Jirga] through secret ballot.

b. According to Article 5 of this decree, 42 members will be elected by representatives of Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan, displaced people in the country, nomads, Hindu and Sikh [minorities], 15 percent of whom must be women.

c. Representatives of women in 32 provinces must elect 64 women members.

d. According to Article 6 of this decree, the head of the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan will select 50 members. In addition, the following people will be invited to the Loya Jirga as observers.

e. Members of the cabinet of the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan (33 people).

f. Head of the Supreme Court (one person).

g. Chairman and members of the Constitutional Commission (35 people).

i. Head of the Independent Judicial and Justice Commission and head of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (2 people).

The observers do not have the right to vote or express an opinion during the Loya Jirga discussions, but only if members of the Loya Jirga ask them particular questions or their opinion.

Governors, deputy governors, mayors, army personnel, police, and National Security Department and other senior government personnel are not eligible to participate in the Loya Jirga to approve the constitution.

Article 3: Elections criteria.

a. Election of members of the Loya Jirga to approve the constitution must take place in a just and open atmosphere free of any interference, trouble, political influence, and national and regional tendencies.

b. Patriotism, national unity, and the interests of the Afghan people are considered to be the basic criteria.

c. The electorates must try to elect educated people with sufficient influence who must have basic knowledge of the principles of the constitution.

Article 4: Procedure for election of members of the Loya Jirga.

a. District representatives in the Emergency Loya Jirga [2002] should gather in provincial capitals in Asad [23 July-22 August 2003] and Sonbola 1382 [23 August-22 September 2003]. Detailed information will be given about the criteria and procedure of elections of the Loya Jirga in these gatherings. In the event of the death of a district representative, people of the district should elect and send another person to the capital of the province.

b. District representatives must gather in Kabul, Jalalabad, Mazar-e Sharif, Herat, Kandahar, Bamian, Konduz, and Gardayz cities in Sonbola 1382 [23 Agust-22 September] and elect members of the Loya Jirga through secret ballot. Elections must take place on the basis of administrative units of a province. The number of elected members from each province must be equal to the number of representatives of the province in the Emergency Loya Jirga [2002].

Article 5: Election of representatives of women, refugees, internally displaced people, nomads, Hindus, and Sikhs.

a. Women should gather in every province and elect two members for the Loya Jirga to approve the constitution through secret ballot.

b. Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran should elect and introduce 24 members through open discussions.

c. Internally displaced people in Herat, Kandahar, and Helmand Provinces must participate in provincial gatherings and elect six people.

d. Nomads should hold gatherings according to instruction of their leaders and elect nine people after necessary discussions.

e. Hindus and Sikhs must elect three representatives after necessary discussions for the membership of the Loya Jirga.

Article 6: Selected members.

The head of the Afghan government will select 50 members of the Loya Jirga to approve the constitution, 25 of which will be eligible women, and the other 25 members will be chosen from among the lawyers, constitution experts, and intellectuals by the head of government.

Article 7: Management of elections.

Election of members for the Loya Jirga will be managed according to Article 4 and Article 5 under the supervision of the Secretariat of the Constitutional Commission. The secretariat must take due measures with the help of government departments and NGOs to hold elections effectively.

Article 8: Ensuring security during the elections.

To ensure full security, the Interior Ministry must take general security measures and must deploy a special security unit. This unit must operate in close cooperation with the secretariat of the Constitutional Commission. It is the responsibility of the special unit of the Interior Ministry to send forces to regional and provincial gatherings and polling places and the place where the Loya Jirga will be held to ensure their security. This unit will get complete training with the help of the secretariat of the Constitutional Commission to get acquainted with the management of elections.

Article 9:Executive Committee.

a. An executive committee comprising the following people must be set up to observe the convocation of the Constitutional Loya Jirga and the election of its members: 1. Head of the Constitutional Commission [Nematullah Shahrani]. 2. Interior Minister [Ali Ahmad Jalali]. 3. Justice Minister [Abdul Rrahim Karimi]. 4. Chief Prosecutor [Abdul Mahmud Daqiq]. 5. Head of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission [Sima Samar]. 6. Special envoy of the United Nations secretary-general or his representative as an observer.

b. The executive committee will take measures after evaluating the following issues: 1. Gathering complaints about threats, acts of terror, exerting pressure, interference, and other violations. 2. To find out, arrest, punish, and stop the violators. 3. Observe the process of election of members of the Loya Jirga. 4. To ensure cooperation by government officials, tribal leaders, and religious personalities with the process of election.

c. The executive committee must establish sub-committees in the provinces to effectively observe the election of members of the Loya Jirga and maintain permanent communications with regions to get continuous information about the progress of affairs as well as to send regular instructions.

d. The executive committee and Secretariat of the Constitutional Commission must ensure the application of this order. (Amin Tarzi)

Allah-Dad Nuri, the head of the recently established Afghanistan Cricket Federation (ACF), said on 14 July that he hopes Afghans "pick up the bat and put down the gun," Reuters reported. Nuri, who is in India seeking support for the ACF, added that "at least 30,000 [Afghans] are familiar with cricket," but he wants that number to increase. Nuri said if the ACF is provided with "proper facilities, proper equipment, and coaching," the Afghan side "can even beat some of the weaker teams that played in this year's World Cup." Cricket was never very popular in Afghanistan prior to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, but millions of Afghans who sought refuge or lived in Pakistan for the past two decades as a result of that war have made the game popular among young Afghans. (Amin Tarzi)

11 July 1948 -- Pakistan says it will discuss economic cooperation with Afghanistan but rejects Kabul's claims to tribal territory.

12 July 1962 -- Afghanistan accepts the offer made by the shah of Iran to mediate its dispute with Pakistan over the "Pashtunistan" question.

17 July 1973 -- Prince Mohammad Da'ud deposes his cousin, King Mohammad Zaher, and proclaims a republic.

(Sources: "Historical Dictionary of Afghan Afghanistan" by Ludwig W. Adamec, (Lanham: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1997).